Alabama St. to serve 3 years' probation

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The NCAA has reduced the probation period for Alabama State Hornets University's football program from five to three years.

In December, the NCAA placed the Hornets' football program on probation for 17 rules violations that allegedly occurred from 1999 to 2003. Violations included changing grades, allowing ineligible players to play and practice, and conducting offseason workouts not allowed by NCAA rules.

The NCAA said in a release Tuesday that it was reducing the length of probation because it determined Alabama State officials took action to correct the problems while the case was being investigated.

The NCAA did not lift a penalty that prevents the Hornets from competing for the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship in the 2009 season.